Reportedly, there was an American Football game on over the weekend with the Kansas City Chiefs narrowly beating out the Philadelphia Eagles by three points in a matched that hinged on a controversial call with two minutes left to play.
Rihanna graced the Halftime show, performing hit after hit clad all in red and heavily pregnant. Famous woman respecter and former US President Donald Trump said it was the “single worst Halftime show” ever. The New Yorker claimed it was lauded it as a “casual anti-spectacle” and hyped up Rihanna’s chops as a performer, News.com.au said it was “low on demanding choreography but high on spectacle.”
However, we’re here to talk about the ads and, while there were some good ones (and a very confusing ad for FanDuel Sportsbet) most of them felt quite samey, with celeb cameos and nods to pop culture stapes. Save, of course, for the NFL’s Flag Football ad, which caused a real stir.
Winners and Losers
Let’s start with some good ones.
Bud Light’s ad — the first for the brand since Anheuser Busch surrendered its Big Game alcohol exclusivity deal this year — saw IRL couple Miles Teller and Keleigh Spacey dance around their living room to some catchy hold music. It’s fun, a bit goofy, and not overbearing. It was produced by new creative agency Anomaly.
Direct-to-consumer pet food company, The Farmer’s Dog made its first Super Bowl appearance with a tear-jerking ad produced in-house. “Forever” by Lee Fields as viewers watch a little girl play with her puppy.
As the girl grows up into an angsty teen, her older dog is waiting on her bed wagging its tail. The dog is there when she moves out of her parents’ house, there for her wedding, and during her pregnancy, though the dog is noticeably older. It’s almost enough to make you want to get a dog and a baby.
Pepsi’s ad was one of the few celeb cameos that landed. The company enlisted Ben Stiller to reprise his Zoolander role and carry out a bunch of winks and nods to other movies. Produced by New York-based creative shop VaynerMedia, the spot promoted the new and improved Pepsi Zero Sugar range.
The spot focused on actors making viewers believe what they see is real. The brand also enlisted Steve Martin for another spot, but the Ben Stiller one is better.
Another good spot, high on humour and without overbearing celeb cameos was Samuel Adams spot. Again, a first Super Bowl outing for the brand, the spot focused on notoriously harsh Bostonians and their inimitable accents. It did feature cameos from comedian Lenny Clarke and retired Boston Celtics basketballer Kevin Garnett but it was Boston itself that stole the show. It was produced by (whisper it) San Francisco-based agency Goodby Silverstein and Partners.
The NFL’s pre-game spot featured Mexican ballerina-turned flag-football World Champion Diana Flores. It’s high-energy and a foil to the Super Bowl’s traditional hyper-masculine American bravado. It was produced by 72andSunny.
While it received many plaudits Needless to say, with a Mexican woman and flag football, plenty of people on the internet were angered.
However, not every ad landed. Squarespace’s in-house created spot featuring Adam Driver was certainly odd.
FanDuel SportsBet’s ad, featuring retired American football tight end (whatever that is) Rob Gronkowski caused a bit of a stir.
The Gronk, as he is apparently known, was tasked with kicking a field goal live during the spot in order to win fans a share of US$10 million (around AU$14 million). He missed. But, FanDuel, in its infinite generosity, still paid out for fans. But did he miss? And was it actually live? The internet has been awash with conspiracy and speculation.
It certainly looks like it might have gone in to us, though this second angle suggests otherwise. But with the small assembled crowd celebrating and fireworks exploding, him missing might have be planned all along.
Hit or miss?
— SportsPro (@SportsPro) February 13, 2023
Another ad that didn’t really land was Popcorners’ Breaking Bad-based spot featuring Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, and Raymond Cruz who played Tuco Salamanca. It was produced by parent company Frito Lay North America’s in-house agency D3.
Hellman’s spot, again featuring three celebs didn’t cut the mustard, either. John Hamm and Brie Larson (their names are food, geddit?) are stuck in a fridge exchanging dull banter before Pete Davidson, inexplicably, appears. Though, the panini he made looked very tasty, indeed. Wunderman Thompson produced this stale number.
After all that excitement, let’s have a look at some numbers.
In the US, 37 million households tuned into the Super Bowl this year, up from 36 million last year. That equates to around 208 million viewers in the US, or around two-thirds of the population, according to the NFL.
51 ads were shown in total, from 46 unique brands.
This year, the price of a 30-second spot increased by 7.7 per cent from 2022 to US$7 million (around AU$10 million) — laughing in the face of supposedly stretched marketing budgets. In fact, since 2019, the cost of a spot has increased by more than two-thirds from US$4.5 million (AU$6.46 million).
Total in-game ad spending was up 6 per cent compared to last year, with the total now standing at US$578.4 million (AU$830 million). Since 2018, total in-game spending is up by almost 70 per cent.
The top five ads from USA Today’s Ad Meter by sentiment were:
- The Farmer’s Dog “Forever” – 6.56
- NFL “Run With It” – 6.38
- Amazon “Saving Sawyer” – 6.35
- Dunkin’ “Drive-Thru” – 6.34
- PopCorners “Breaking Good” – 6.26
The five worst performing ads were:
- DoorDash “We Get Groceries” 4.52
- Rémy Martin “Inch by Inch” 4.44
- M&M’s “M&M’s Super Bowl 2023” 4.29
- Temu “Shop like a Billionaire” 3.74
- U2 “Achtung Baby Live at The Sphere” 3.69
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